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Service dog takes place in school yearbook next to his young companion

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Taxi Benke, a Labrador retriever and golden retriever mixed breed, is proof positive that dogs can smile; his charming golden coated face with the deep brown eyes and matching nose shine in the Northside Independent School District's Hector Garcia Middle School's yearbook reports the

While it may be unusual for a dog's photo to appear in a yearbook, Taxi is a very special service dog, who for the last four years has been the constant companion and protector of his young human companion, Rachel Benke. The Texas teenager was born with brain damage which left her having grand mal seizures; when as a toddler she had up to 200 seizures a day.

At six-years-old, two operations corrected much of the problem, but still an occasional seizure can happen.

The family found Taxi, a trained service dog, who according to Rachel's mother, Teresa, can predict a seizure up to an hour before it happens.

“He predicts she’s going to have a seizure up to an hour and half before it happens. It seems to be a smell that the body emits, but until dogs can talk we can never know for sure.”

Although Taxi had originally been trained to be a guide dog, that just didn't work out, but oh, how it all came to be, for the Benke family:

"We joke saying he's a guide dog drop out; he did not make the guide dog program because he has a cat distraction problem," stated Teresa.

According to, Taxi never leaves Rachel's side and is a familiar site on campus. One time when Rachel was running track, Taxi broke away from the aide and ran to his favorite young human. Rachel was having a seizure, and Taxi wouldn't leave her side until paramedics arrived.

Last year the family joked about Taxi being in the yearbook, but this year it really happened.

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